Women Of Troy To Battle UCLA In Regular-Season Finale

Feb. 23, 2005

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Saturday, Feb. 20, at 3 p.m.
vs. UCLA at the Sports Arena
Televised on FOX Sports Net
Live Audio: KMPC-AM 1540 and www.usctrojans.com

The USC women's basketball team (17-9, 11-6 Pac-10) hosts crosstown rival UCLA (16-10, 10-7) on Saturday (Feb. 26) at 3 p.m. in a pivotal season finale as both teams jockey for position for the Pac-10 Tournament with hopes of continuing the season into the NCAA Tournament. The game will be televised live by FOX Sports Net and will be broadcast live on KMPC-AM 1540 and at www.usctrojans.com.

* USC is in the midst of its best season since 1997, which is the last year that the Women of Troy played in the NCAA Tournament. Under first-year coach Mark Trakh, USC has reached 17 wins for the first time since the 1997 team won 20 games and if USC defeats UCLA on Saturday, it will give Troy its most Pac-10 wins (12) since the 1997 team won 13.

In conjunction with the game on Saturday, USC Athletics invites and welcomes Trojan fans everywhere to join our surrounding neighborhoods and communities to spend A DAY IN TROY, an afternoon of celebration, inspiration, education and entertainment. A DAY IN TROY, featuring student-athletes from various USC men's and women's varsity teams, will begin on the University Park campus at 12 p.m. with a campus tour, followed by the Trojan Pep Talk and autograph session at the Sports Arena, and will culminate with the game against UCLA. Tickets for A DAY IN TROY/USC vs. UCLA Women's Basketball are available for $7 each (prime location seating) or $3 each. In cooperation with USC's Good Neighbors Campaign, USC Athletics will donate $2 from each $7 ticket sold, and $1 from each $3 ticket sold, into USC's Good Neighbors Campaign, which directly benefits surrounding schools and community endeavors. For game-only $7 ticket sales, please call (213) 740 GO SC.

The Women of Troy are also looking to lock up the remaining five of 10 available women's basketball points for the 2004-05 Lexus Gauntlet (the first five went to UCLA). The Lexus Gauntlet is a season-long competition between USC and UCLA in all sports. Points are awarded to the winner of each Bruin-Trojan head-to-head contest throughout the year and the Lexus Gauntlet trophy is awarded to the school with the most points at year's end. USC captured the inaugural trophy in 2001-02 and reclaimed the trophy last season.

USC could finish anywhere in the Pac-10 from second place to tied for fifth and could end up as high as a No. 2 seed in the Pac-10 Tournament or as low as No. 6.

SENIOR DAYIn addition to all of the other story lines on Saturday, the game will also mark Senior Day for USC seniors Kim Gipson and Rachel Woodward. Both integral parts of USC's best season since 1997, the pair will be honored on the court shortly before the start of the game. Combined, they have played in more than 200 games in the cardinal and gold.

USC is coming off one of its greatest offensive games in school history, a 103-69 win over California on Feb. 20. The win marked the most points by a Trojan women's team since 1994 and the first time the Women of Troy topped the century mark since 1997. Freshman guard Brynn Cameron scored a game-high 19 points on five three-pointers while Rachel Woodward went a perfect 8-of-8 from the field for 16 points. USC's field goal percentage of 59.7 was its best since canning 63.2% against Oregon State on March 1, 2003. Point guards Jamie Hagiya (12) and Camille LeNoir (seven) both posted career highs in assists as five Trojans scored in double figures.

* Kim Gipson, who averaged 3.3 points and 2.5 rebounds in her first three seasons, continues to shine this year. Gipson is currently averaging 7.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.

* It's a new start for USC as it continues play in the 2004-05 season under first-year head coach Mark Trakh. Trakh, who was hired in April and boasts a history of success after spending 11 seasons at nearby Pepperdine and 13 years at the prep level, has high hopes for his young squad made up of nine returning letterwinners and four newcomers.

The Trojans are 10-2 this season when playing in Los Angeles (6-2 at Sports Arena, 4-0 at Lyon Center). It marks the best home record since 1994 when USC finished the year with a 15-1 record at home, including wins in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

Against Oregon, USC utilized its ninth starting lineup of the season. No lineup has played together for more than five games (see page 6), with the group of Kim Gipson, Jamie Funn, Meghan Gnekow, Brynn Cameron and Camille LeNoir enjoying the most success at 3-2.

According to NCAA rankings released on Feb. 20, freshman guard Brynn Cameron ranks 19th nationally in three-point field goal percentage (42.7).

Despite a 38.2 field goal percentage, the Women of Troy have gotten this far thanks to pure hustle. USC has outrebounded opponents 39.8-to-38.7 (+1.1) and forced an average of 22.0 turnovers per game. The Trojans also lead the Pac-10 with an average of 16.85 offensive rebounds per game, a category which they also led last season (with a 15.93 average). Junior guard/forward Meghan Gnekow leads the Pac-10 with an average of 3.08 offensive boards per game.

Seven players are averaging at least 7.0 points a game and six average at least 4.0 rebounds per outing. Eight players have taken turns leading the team in scoring through 22 games played this season, and six players have shared the lead in rebounding.

The Women of Troy finished 7-2 in the first half of the Pac-10 season, matching last season's start. It's the programs best league start since 1994 when the Trojans finished 16-2 and captured the Pac-10 title.

At 17-9, this remains USC's best record through 26 games since going 19-7 during the 1997 season. It is also the first time since 1997 that the team began the conference season with a winning record (6-3). Before the loss to Stanford, its seven-game win streak was the longest since 1994.

USC is re-writing its three-point records. The Women of Troy have already shattered the team season record of 118 (1996) and have made 156 with at least two games remaining. The Women of Troy are second in three-pointers per game in the Pac-10 and have spent all season among the top three teams. It's unfamiliar territory for USC, which finished no higher than fifth in the category over the last seven years. The Trojans are currently averaging 6.0 three-pointers per game.

Consider that of USC's nine losses, five have been to ranked opponents (#20 DePaul, #6 Notre Dame, #23 UCLA, #5 Stanford, #2 Stanford), four have been by four points or less (56-60 vs. Notre Dame, 73-76 at BYU, 61-62 at UCLA, 45-49 at ASU) and seven have been on the road.STANFORD GAME RECAP
Eshaya Murphy led USC with 12 points while Brynn Cameron had 10, but No. 2 Stanford was too much for the Women of Troy, who fell to the Pac-10-leading Cardinal, 88-62, on Feb. 18. Cameron had three three-pointers to give her 56 for the season, tying the USC season record set by Tammy Story in 1991. USC trailed 29-17 with 8:05 left in the first half when the Women of Troy went on an 8-1 run to close to within 30-25 with 4:29 remaining. Stanford responded, but USC was still within 39-29 at the half. The Cardinal, however, opened the second half with a 10-0 run to lead 49-29 and never led by less than 16 points the rest of the way.

Led by Brynn Cameron's 19 points and Rachel Woodward's 16 on 8-of-8 shooting, USC scored its most points since 1994 in a 103-69 win over California Feb. 20. In one the school's greatest offensive showings, USC shot 59.7% from the field (59.5 % in the first half and 60.0% in the second) en route to the most points for the school since Troy defeated Arizona State, 105-67, on Feb. 18, 1994. It's also the first time USC cracked the century mark since a 101-59 win against Washington State on March 6, 1997. Cameron led five Trojans in double figures and tied her career-high of five three-pointers. Her first trey, in fact, broke the school season record for most three-pointers in a season, which previously belonged to Tammy Story (56 in 1991). Both of USC's point guards had career days sharing the ball. Sophomore Jamie Hagiya posted a career-high 12 assists, which ties for the eighth most ever for the Women of Troy and the most since Jennifer Dunbar had that many against Arizona in 1989. Freshman Camille LeNoir finished with seven assists, also good for a career-high. Junior Meghan Gnekow and sophomore Eshaya Murphy each finished with 12 points while sophomore Jamie Funn had 10.